For people who participate in sports, whether
it be team sports or individual sports, sports injuries can be
common. Whether it is young children playing kickball in the schoolyard
or professional athletes competing in city arenas, nobody is immune
to sports injuries.
One question that many athletes ask, and
parents of young athletes ask, is when is a sports injury cause
for a possible lawsuit?
For school children most parents sign forms releasing schools
from any liability when their child incurs a sports injury while
playing a school sport. There can, however, be exceptions to this.
If a child suffers a sports injury due to gross negligence
by the school, such as if the school makes the child play a sport
in an unsafe area or a coach or teacher makes a child keep playing
a sport even if the child has complained of pain, then the school
may still be liable for any sports injuries. If parents believe
that gross negligence on the part of the school is responsible
for their child's injury, they may want to consult with a lawyer.
For sports such as skiing, liability for an injury can be more
complicated. A ski resort is not liable if a skier suffers an
injury due to normal skiing activities in a designated skiing
area. The resort may be liable, however, if an area where people
shouldn't ski is not clearly marked as off limits, or the injury
occurs because of faulty resort equipment, such as a broken ski
lift. When an injury occurs because of faulty ski boots, skis,
or other personal ski equipment, the manufacturer of the faulty
equipment may be liable as in any other regular products
liability case, depending on how new the equipment is or any
guarantees that may come with the equipment.
Sports injuries can be a very gray area when it comes to legal
liability. Any disregard for safety guidelines or the rules of
a sport by a participant most likely means that any injury that
occurs is the fault of the participant. Sports injuries that occur
because a member of an opposing team uses excessive force that
is meant to cause bodily harm can mean legal action against the
protagonist. Even here, there may be exceptions or gray areas.
In sports such as ice hockey or boxing, injuries are an everyday
occurrence, and are usually expected, so defining liability for
sports injuries in these sports could be extremely hard to do.